Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cyclonic Storm Phailin

Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Phailin is a tropical cyclone in October 2013 that has affected Thailand, Myanmar and the Indian states of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.The system was first noted as a tropical depression within the Gulf of Thailand, to the west of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Over the next few days, the system moved westwards within an area of low to moderate vertical wind shear, before as it passed over the Malay Peninsula, it moved out of the Western Pacific Basin on October 6. The system emerged into the Andaman Sea during the next day and moved west-northwest into an improving environment for further development.

  

The system was subsequently named Phailin on October 9, after it had developed into a cyclonic storm and passed over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands into the Bay of Bengal. After it was named, Phailin rapidly intensified and developed an eye, and became a very severe cyclonic storm on October 10, equivalent to a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS). On October 11, Phailin became equivalent to a category 5 hurricane on the SSHWS before it started to weaken during the next day as it approached the Indian state of Orissa. The system subsequently made landfall later that day, near Gopalpur on Odisha coast at around 2130 IST (1600 UTC).
 

Officials said around 12 million people may be affected, 600 buildings have been identified as cyclone shelters, and people are being evacuated from areas near the coast, including Ganjam, Puri, Khordha and Jagatsinghapur districts in Odisha. The cyclone has prompted India's biggest evacuation in 23 years with more than 550,000 people moved up from the coastline in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to safer places.

  

Meteorological history
On October 4, the Japan Meteorological Agency began monitoring a tropical depression that developed in the Gulf of Thailand, about 400 km (250 mi) west of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Over the next couple of days the system moved westward within an area of low to moderate vertical wind shear. As it passed over the Malay Peninsula, it moved out of the Western Pacific Basin on October 6. The system subsequently emerged into the Andaman Sea during the next day, before the India Meteorological Department (IMD) started to monitor the system as Depression BOB 04 early on October 8. During that day the system moved towards the west-northwest into an environment for further development. The IMD reported that the system had become a deep depression early on October 9 as it intensified and consolidated further. The United States Joint Typhoon Warning Center subsequently initiated advisories on the depression and designated it as Tropical Cyclone 02B, before the system slightly weakened, as it passed near to Mayabunder in the Andaman Islands and moved into the Bay of Bengal. After moving into the Bay of Bengal, the system quickly reorganized as it moved along the southern edge of a subtropical ridge of high pressure. The IMD reported that the system had intensified into a cyclonic storm and named it Phailin.

After it was named, Phailin rapidly intensified further, and became equivalent to a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS) early on October 10, after bands of atmospheric convection had wrapped into the systems low level circulation center and formed an eye feature. Later that day the IMD reported that the system had become a very severe cyclonic storm, before the JTWC reported that Phailin had become equivalent to a category 4 hurricane on the SSHWS, after it had rapidly intensified throughout that day. Early the next day the system underwent an eyewall replacement cycle and formed a new eyewall which subsequently consolidated. After the new eyewall had consolidated the system slightly intensified further with the JTWC reporting that the system had reached its peak intensity, with 1-minute sustained windspeeds of 260 km/h (160 mph) which made it equivalent to a category 5 hurricane on the SSHWS. Early on October 12, the system started to weaken with Phailins eye starting to rapidly deteriorate as the system moved towards the Indian coast.The system subsequently made landfall later that day near Gopalpur in the Indian state of Odisha, between 20:30 – 21:30 IST (15:00 – 16:00 UTC) as a very severe cyclonic storm.

Preparations and impact
 Phailin while undergoing its second Eyewall replacement cycle and nearing landfall on 12 October 2013.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands
On October 8, the IMD warned the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that squally to gale force windspeeds would be recorded over the islands and surrounding sea areas during the next two days.[8] They also warned that heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over the islands while some damage to thatched huts, power and communication lines was expected.[8] These warnings were continued until October 11, when the IMD noted that no further adverse weather, would occur over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.[25] Within the islands the Directorate of Health Services opened a Medical Camp in Rangat, while the Deputy Commissioner, Police and Fire Services all ensured there were no casualties.[26] Rainfall totals of over 335 mm (13.2 in) were recorded in Mayabunder and on the Long Island on 9th October in 24 hrs.[26] In 72 hrs Mayabunder got 735 mm rainfall.
Odisha
Government issued a high alert to the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh, Ganjam and Gajapati; and cancelled the Dusshera holidays of employees of all 30 districts of the state, asking them to ensure safety of people. Food and relief materials were stocked-up at storm shelters across the state.[30] Distant storm warning signal was raised to two at the ports of Paradip and Gopalpur. The Chief Minister of Odisha wrote to the Union Defence Minister seeking support from defence personnel, particularly the Air Force and Navy, for rescue and relief operations. Indian Air Force choppers were kept on standby in West Bengal to move in for help at short notice. Odisha (formerly known as Orissa) government has made arrangements for over 100,000 food packets for relief.
Heavy rainfall led to the death of a man in Bhubaneswar after a tree fell on him. Gusty winds led to many downed trees and powerlines.[34] Due to high winds, seven other people were killed in Odisha due to falling trees.

  
Andhra Pradesh
The Andhra Pradesh government and the Chief Minister met representatives of the Army and Navy seeking their assistance if required.[36] Utility workers striking against the division of Andhra Pradesh called off their strike, partly in view of the cyclone threat to the coastal districts.[37]The state government ordered the evacuation of 64,000 people living in low-lying areas.


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